Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Monday 23d.

Wednesday. 25th.

Tuesday. 24th. CFA Tuesday. 24th. CFA
Tuesday. 24th.

Morning at the Office. Weather again turned off clear and cold. I went early this morning to be ready for any call which might be made upon me. Soon after I had reached there, Mr. Hubbard the Sexton of the Parish at Quincy came and I accompanied him to the Vessel where I saw the remains of my poor brother transferred to his Waggon and on their road to their final resting place.1 It gave me at the moment a strong feeling of melancholy, for I knew him well and was witness to much of the latter part of his feverish dream. For such it was indeed. Here was the close of all his views, and if his steps were retrograde during the latter part of life even in spite of himself, here they met a termination almost too abrupt to afford our feelings any solace. Much in him there was that I admired, much that I wish I could imitate, but still there was unfortunately more that was equally unfit for him and for me.2 And I rest comforted in the strong conclusion that I have come to that he would not have lived for his 85own good had God spared him longer. May Heaven deal mercifully with his Soul. His earthly remains lie with those of his Fathers.

I spent an hour in the Supreme Court hearing Mr. Webster and Judge Orne sparring upon an Insurance case.3 The former has a magnificent way with him. It strikes me with wonder whenever I see it. It is power in truth over our fellow creatures. I would give much to possess it—And why not try? The field is open to the bold, the perservering and the brave. I am conscious of some power that way. Why not endeavour to turn it to some advantage.

I translated a little but not much of Pufendorf. This work lags in it’s latter end. I also attended a sale of Flower roots in which I purchased a considerable number, they going very low. I carried them directly home. Afternoon as usual, reading Aeschines but instead of doing all my common quantity of Translation, I took a part of the time to read Mr. Mitford’s Account of the Two Orations on the Crown which made me as angry as it always does. Although I must agree with him in the force of evidence adduced on the two first points of the Oration of Aeschines. But I do not as yet see the same weight in the third. As I was about to continue Clarissa to Abby, we were interrupted by Edmund Quincy who came and sat pleasantly all the Evening.

1.

Mr. Hubbard reached Quincy about half past one. There, in the presence of JQA and W. C. Greenleaf, after a short prayer by Rev. Peter Whitney in the graveyard opposite the Adams Temple, the remains were placed in the family tomb next to the grave of JQA’s sister, Abigail (Adams) Smith (AA2), who had been reburied there in 1813. (JQA, Diary, 24 Nov.; JQA to LCA, 24 Nov., Adams Papers; CFA, Diary, 14 March 1832; Ford, ed., Statesman and Friend , p. 110.)

2.

The literary character of this passage, the Shakespearean echoes, may derive from CFA’s identification of GWA with poetry, as well as with some aspects of the flawed or tragic hero.

3.

Peters, Pond & Co. v. Commonwealth Insurance Co. Daniel Webster and Lemuel Shaw were counsel for the plaintiffs; Henry Orne and William Prescott for the defendants (Columbian Centinel, 2 Dec. 1829, p. 2, col. 5).